Dear Amy:

In your opinion, how damaging to the children involved is an amicable divorce?

My husband and I have two kids in middle school. Both kids are pretty well adjusted and I'd like to keep it that way. My husband and I have been drifting apart for some time, and I find myself daydreaming about life in a small apartment, without him.

We've tried a few sessions of counseling before, and we've just agreed to go back for more. He's not abusive in any way, to the kids or me, I just don't know if I love him anymore, and I can't stop scanning the "apartments for lease" section in the paper.

I'm trying hard to appreciate what I have, but in the meantime -- in your opinion, how do kids handle divorce?

Good Mom But Tired of Being a Wife

Your fantasies of life in a small apartment don't seem to include your children. At least, you don't mention them. So let's stipulate that you plan to split up your family in some way that gives you some fantasy time in a small apartment with your kids.

Speaking as a single mom who has raised a child in a small apartment, I have news for you -- it is not the picnic that you seem to think it is. Divorce -- amicable and otherwise -- stinks, and though I believe that most amicably divorced families work things out quite well, it's hard, hard, hard. Unless there is clear abuse or neglect involved, children prefer for their parents to be together. Don't kid yourself. Kids don't give a hang about their parents' fantasies.

Part of your dream involves an amicable divorce, and while I admire your optimism, you have no way of knowing how your husband would react to your abandoning him. A divorce isn't amicable just because one party wants it to be.

I don't mean to be too hard on you. Wistfully scanning the classifieds isn't a crime. But drifting away from your husband because you've got the midlife blahs isn't the answer.

Commit to counseling. Also find someone for you to talk to -- alone. You should dig down very deep to get some answers for why you feel the way you do.

Dear Amy:

I have never heard anyone express this problem, and I want to know your opinion. On two occasions I have gone to the theater and have settled in to enjoy the entertainment. As soon as the movie/play started the person next to me began to describe what was happening on stage and screen to the visually handicapped person next to them.

Everyone within earshot was treated to the unending undertow of babbling with no regard to the rights of the other attendees. At the movies, it is sometimes possible to move. In the theater, this isn't always an option.

Don't the people who are not visually impaired have basic rights to the entertainment they paid for?

How can one handle this difficult situation without feeling like a cad?

Stephanie From Maryland

I read your letter to Tiki Davies, head of the press office at the Kennedy Center in Washington. "We want for everyone to enjoy their experience when they are attending a performance. If theater patrons have any sort of problem during a performance, they should definitely contact the usher right away. The usher will work with the house manager to help them -- or the visually-impaired person -- to change seats," Davies says.

The Kennedy Center (and some other performance venues) provides earphone devices featuring a live-audio description of the event to assist the visually impaired. This system is only available for selected performances, so visually-impaired theatergoers should check with the theater's box office.

I hope that if this happens to you again, you take at least a moment to be grateful that you are blessed with good eyesight and don't need a friend to provide "an unending undertow of babbling" in order to understand what is happening on stage. Really. The way not to feel like a cad is not to think like a cad.

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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